Thursday, October 20, 2011
Review of Going Deep by Gordon MacDonald
I really enjoyed this book. My only hesitation in recommending it wholeheartedly is that it is fiction. This did not really happen. Too bad.
In this fictional account of a New England church, Pastor Gordon MacDonald and his wife go to a Red Sox game with their neighbors and good friends, the unchurched and unsaved Sorianos. Mr. Soriano asks Pastor MacDonald what the church's elevator story is. The pastor doesn't know the term. It is a story that a person tells to the other person in an elevator that succinctly sums up the mission. If the story is compelling enough, it causes the other person in the elevator to invest to a tune of $20 million.
This question starts the pastor on a search that leads him to pray for a "great idea" that will make the church more like the one he described in his elevator story. A church member hands him a quote from Richard Foster. "The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people or gifted people, but for deep people." (page 23).
This quote begins to focus the pastor's quest, so he and his wife and some others work to define "deep people." They come up with things like: worshipful reverence for Jesus. Caring about others. Caring about the church. Calm and certain in the face of difficult circumstances. Unashamed to speak about God's grace and favor in life. Vigorous daily devotions. Faith and optimism in God's power. Influence others because people look to them for "inspiration, guidance, and assurance." (all of this from page 123).
After agreeing on the definition of deep people, the church determines to cultivate them in their church. A small group of people, both men and women are chosen for a year long discipleship in order to cultivate a "deepening" experience with Christ in their lives.
The remainder of the book is dedicated to this process. Enough information and supplementary books are given that it would be entirely possible, if you desired, to re-create this for yourself, using the books provided and praying your way through it.
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.